VAFA 2019: Delisted AFL dasher Billy Hartung will line up in the VAFA this year
Mordialloc Chelsea Leader
April 1, 2019 1:30am
Billy Hartung played 13 AFL games for North Melbourne last season.
This year he’ll play in the VAFA Premier B section, lining up with St Bedes Mentone Tigers.
The 24-year-old was linked with his junior club Red Hill, but he has been training with the Tigers for a few weeks and the club has lodged his registration with VAFA HQ.
The pacy right-footer can be expected to dominate the section.
But new Tigers coach Michael Hazell said it was more about Hartung enjoying his football after the disappointment of being delisted.
Drafted in 2013, he had 63 matches with Hawthorn from 2014-17 before crossing to the Kangas.
“He’s a local boy. He’s got connections to the club and he’s in the process of trying to transition out of the AFL and St Bede’s was a good fit for him,’’ Hazell said.
“The boys are really comfortable around him. They love him. He’s a really humble guy. He’s on board with my theory that the 70th bloke on the list is just as important as the first.
“From my perspective it’s about him getting back to enjoying footy again. It’s about making it fun for him again, having a nice formula which doesn’t involve putting GPSs on backs.’’
Hartung played no practice matches but had a run in an intraclub hitout last Thursday night.
Other St Bede’s Mentone recruits include Wonthaggi pair Layton and Jarrod Membrey and WAFL forward Nathan Fahey, who is on Frankston’s VFL list.
Nine Tigers are linked with VFL clubs, including Sandringham’s delisted St Kilda dasher Nathan Wright and Collingwood’s Alex Woodward.
But Kye Beveridge is a full-time Tiger after stepping away from Collingwood.
Former Northern Blues assistant and Rosebud senior coach Adrian McBean will support Hazell, who played in the Tigers’ last premiership, in 2008.
“I suppose that after two years at the bottom of A grade and losing the B grade grand final in 2016, the club was probably in a bit of a flat position,’’ Hazell said.
“So I’ve really tried to start from scratch. I said to the committee when I got the role, we’re either going up to A grade to play finals or we’re better off staying in B. That’s my view. There’s nothing worse than being that yoyo club. It’s very hard to keep a club humming when you’re sitting down the bottom of A grade.
“I think we’ll be OK. We’ve got a lot of kids, which is great. The club’s in a good spot. It’s always hard going down from A to B — it can go either way — but we’ve worked hard to keep the group together and make it a bit more fun, a bit more lighthearted.’’
The Membreys add to the list of brothers at the club this year, with the Tyquins, Richards, Pasturas, Brownes, Mangonis and Millwoods lending a family feel to Brindisi St.